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Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Puzzle / Quiz
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
ETA: April 2006 

 

 

 

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Brain Age

 

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After tearing up the sales charts in Japan for almost a year now, English-speaking DS owners can finally look forward to Nintendo’s brain training game getting a North American release.  Being released over here as Brain Age, players will be faced with a variety of puzzles, quizzes, and other activities to challenge one’s gray matter, as players see whether their brain is young or old.

 

Originally released as a series of books in Japan by Professor Ryuta Kawashima, a prominent neurologist at Tohoku University in Japan, the game runs players through a number of drills to see just how sharp they are.  One example has players being presented with a variety of words, but players have to say what color the writing is in into the DS’ built-in microphone, not what the word is.  The tricky part comes from the words being the names of various colors.  So, if the word says “blue” but it is written with red letters the correct answer is to say, “Red”.

 

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Players will also be able to test their brains against various math and logic puzzles, as well as reading literature aloud, and drawing pictures.  The game will even have a sudoku 

mini-game included.  If you have never heard of the puzzle game, sudoku, you can read all about it right here.

 

There’s a lot of content in Brain Age, and the way the game encourages players to hone their skills, and continue to exercise their mind should add greatly to its replay value.  In many ways the title is attempting to not just be a game, but a tool to help people keep their wits sharp, yet it doesn’t come across as “edutainment” software.

 

What has really attributed to the Brain Training games’ success in Japan is that it appeals to such a broad audience.  There are quite 

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a few people out there that enjoy games, but they just can’t relate to the content in games like Grand Theft Auto, or Soul Calibur.  Many from grade school right up to seniors very much enjoy the puzzles presented in the brain trainging games in Japan.  It will be interesting to see if Brain Age becomes just as big of a phenomenon when it hit North America in mid April of this year.

 

Mr. Nash

February 13, 2006